Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A dank, dark Sunday morning saw members of the group come out on an increasingly rare visit to Sunnycroft, Wellington. Large numbers appeared for the unusual task of starting the conservation project on Sunnycroft’s glasshouse.  As everyone gathered in the car park, you could hear the surprised voices, as one after another seldom seen member was greeted, ending with NT’s Midlands garden adviser Pam Smith.

Seventeen members meant three teams could be formed to take on the challenges Head (and only!) garden Joel had for us.

Primarily we were invited to return to provide the labour for removing and relocating decorative stones from inside the glasshouse whilst it is being restored.

Task 2: remove four laurel bushes that had encroached into the herbaceous boarder – roots and all.

Task 3: reducing the height and trimming the hedge on the main drive.

Before stones in the glasshouse could be removed, bedding tray gravel and rusting, corrugated metal sheets had to be extracted. Now we could get to the intended stones. However this proved disappointing, as nearly all the material found was not of the expected kind!

Sunnycroft’s conservatory is a significant historic structure in its own right.  It was supplied in 1899 by R. Halliday & Company and is listed Grade II. It is embellished with stained glass, decorative finials and ironwork – being small in size, it was designed to fit in with the “compact” Sunnycroft estate. Unfortunately, time has not been kind, and the structure is starting to show its age.  Hence it is in need of full restoration. The Trust believe there are only three examples of this kind in existence, which makes this one even more special.

But with the day’s work complete, conservation of the glasshouse can commence hopefully in the spring of 2020.

Shrubs extracted through brute force, it only remained to tackle the unruly top of the green hedge. 

To reduce its height, Joel allowed our editor to take charge of his new battery-powered extendable hedge trimmer – as workday leader I think a brave move!  It was a challenge to control this monster all day.  But with a second smaller, but more heavy-duty machine also on hand, after a whole day’s work the resulting hedge does look the part!

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Workday leader David reports:

SSNTV members are a hardy lot!

There was a big turnout on a grim weather day with fog, low cloud, drizzle, rain and cold temperatures. After all of the recent rainfall the conditions were very muddy, but we just kept on going, with the work keeping us warm and the fire to dry us off.

We continued our work from a month ago at Stretton Westwood quarry opening up the route for a new path to be created.  Working alongside Al and Kate, who provided plenty of big trees to process, we felled others and cleared the rampant bramble undergrowth. 

During a break in the work, Kate helped a few people to find some great fossils in the 400 million year old Silurian limestone rocks that were formed when the area was a coral reef in a shallow tropical sea. Could have done with some of that tropical weather on Sunday!

Despite the weather we made a real impact on the path route and look forward to seeing it in use in the not too distant future.

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Workday leader Sheila reports:……

A great way to start October: a weekend working in wonderful Walcot Wood with superb autumnal weather – so for the first time in the last few visits weather did not interrupt our plans!

NT’s Countryside Manager Pete C, mindful that the group comprised several who were new to the site initially gave us a detailed, informative, inspirational and fascinating tour –  explaining the mix of habitats; plans to replant new oaks from acorns; and how NT maintains this rare patch. Stoically other SSNTV’ers stayed behind to start the fire and begin cutting the brash.

We focused on opening up a bank across the lower fenced section of the Wood (up to the gate linking to the upper part). The aim, which we could see positively nearby  was in short, to create more woodland pasture.  We gave particular consideration to the welfare of the majestic adjacent veteran oaks and also the prospective future grazing delights and convenience of the Hebridean sheep – the local live-in lawnmowers and maintenance team!

Weekend culinary experiences ranged from the sublime (Leela’s stunning cake) to the ridiculous (workday leader’s Saturday charcoal jacketed potatoes – happily Dave’s outdoor cooking expertise meant browner, less blackened versions on Sunday).  Thanks to all for that!

10 volunteers made the long trek out over the weekend – a terrific team!.  As he departed on Saturday, Pete was already pleased with our progress.  I think Sunday’s input should leave him delighted. 

Roll on the Spring visit and more sunny weather!

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Edge ranger Al, has a predicament…. he has a new tenant farmer for one of his fields alongside the A458 but the farmer wants a stock proof fence to keep his sheep in.

The livestock is due to arrive on 1st May and we are only two weeks away with 160 meters of hedge to be cut back so the new fence can be erected by a contractor starting on 23rd April.

What can he do?… Answer: Call in SSNTV!

Its Easter Sunday…will anyone turn up? (The group have not been out on a bank holiday for a number of years – they do need some days off to build up their strength after all)

Well Al need not have worried, eleven members and one member’s visitor all the way from London met up at the designated lane.  Al dragged assistant Kate along as well.

In no time fire number one was burning away. So off to the other end of the field for fire number two.  Both were blazing by cake o’clock, as the old fence started to appear from under the hawthorn and among the brambles.

The sun blazed down, the heat of the fires and the sweat pouring out of everyone, mean frequent breaks for water had to be taken as the hedge shrank in size and the bonfires got bigger.

Cue reddened faces and relief, as by the end of the day the task was complete, old hedge was removed and the group left Al and Kate to take down the old barbed wire ready for the next phase of work to start on Tuesday morning.

Workday leader – Peter O

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Our EVENTS page has been updated with new dates for your diary.

If you have volunteered with us before…., then you know how to book onto the workdays.

If you’re interested to volunteer with us for the first time…., then please contact us for more info – just pop over to our CONTACTS PAGE and send us your details so our web fairy can put you in touch with us.

In the meantime, don’t forget that we are also on Facebook.

Just click the Facebook link in the sidebar to read recent workday reports and see more pictures (don’t worry, you don’t have to have a Facebook account to read the updates!).

Walcot Woods

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The Weir, Hereford, Saturday 22nd October

It has been a while since we visited The Weir, May 7th to be exact. It is a real pleasure to work at this location, particularly so this weekend as we had such lovely weather.

Our task was to cut back overgrown buddleia and rosemary willow. The idea was that we would uncover the old pig sty. We were wondering if this would be possible as we couldn’t see a pig sty – as you can see from the ‘after’ pic, the pig sty was there and we worked hard to reveal it from the undergrowth.

We enjoyed working with NT gardener Ned. He always has something interesting to show us in the garden. This time it was a fabulous selection of pumpkins and squash of all shapes and sizes and an oddly shaped vegetable – which turned out to be a south american cucumber of the Achocha family, known as the ‘Fat Baby’. Also growing there was a close relative of the Fat Baby – the exploding cucumber, Latin name Cyclanthera Explodens.

 

 

 

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Wenlock Edge, old quarry, Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October

Earlier in the year, a discussion took place with NT Ranger Chris – what would be better than a workday at Wenlock Edge? The answer? Three workdays at Wenlock Edge! And so the group found themselves booked in for a three day working weekend, working at a new part of the site. The location was an old limestone quarry which has long since ceased production. The National Trust recently took over management of the site. It had become overgrown with hawthorn and blackthorn hence badly in need of some volunteer action.

There is a variety of things that make the group happy: – good weather, chunky trees to chop, a bonfire, lots of cake. All of these were available in abundance!

Some of the group stayed overnight at an NT holiday cottage near Dudmaston. Ron tested his culinary skills on Friday evening, providing the group with a delicious spaghetti dish. Sheila helped out by creating an apple crumble, using apples provided by Ron from his own garden. This was washed down with a fine selection of ales, or a glass or two of homemade wine – “Rhubarb Ruin”. On the Saturday evening, the overnighters ventured into Bridgnorth for a meal in a local bistro – I am sure it wasn’t as good as Ron and Sheila’s tasty creations on Friday.

The photos don’t do justice to the extent of work completed over the weekend. We hope to be back working at this site sometime before Christmas so if you want to see it, keep an eye on our programme of workdays and come out and join us.

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